• Fri Mar 02 2012
  • UPE probe commission denies swindling sh5b

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the mismanagement of the free education programmes (UPE and USE) has denied swindling sh5b meant for their operations.
Vision Reporter
Journalist @ New vision
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the mismanagement of the free education programmes (UPE and USE) has denied swindling sh5b meant for their operations.

By Joyce Namutebi

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the mismanagement of Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education programmes has denied swindling sh5b meant for their operations.

Appearing before the parliamentary committee on social services, the team led by the commission chairperson, Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi presented accountability of the sh5.4b so far spent by them out of the Sh6.3b released since December 2009.

"The sh5b was not and could not be shared by us," Prof. Lawrence Mukiibi, a member of the commission stressed.

The probe team had been summoned to the committee to give their side of the story following resolutions passed by Parliament on February 14, 2012 that government winds up activities of the commission and withholds further extension of its mandate.

Parliament also resolved that the government should not extend any additional money to the commission and that any unspent money on the commission's account be frozen until investigations are completed.

The matter was referred to the social services committee for further scrutiny and to produce a report in two months' time.

The resolutions followed a submission by the Minister of Education, Jessica Alupo that despite having been given sh6.3b neither had the President nor did the ministry receive any reports from the commission.

Mukiibi explained that with a total workforce of 126 people, the sh5.4b was spent on securing office space, buying vehicles and inspecting schools. He revealed that they visited about 1,000 schools.

Justice Katunguka, in a statement to the committee said it was not true that there had been no audit of commission funds.

He also denied reports that they had not accounted for the funds advanced to them and said the ministry was availed replicas of the receipts.

The commission funds, he said, were subjected to an internal audit by the ministry on January 30, 2012.

Progress reports

Katunguka revealed they had so far submitted four progress reports to the President accompanying requests for extension of the time of completion of work, and that they had submitted summarized reports to Alupo twice.

“We were not submitting major reports to the ministry because it was a subject of investigation.”

If there are no other constraining factors, Katunguka explained, they would hand in their final report before August and assured the committee that they would not be asking for more money.

He challenged the committee to ask the minister why she refused to include the commission's input into her statement to Parliament.

Katunguka revealed that their findings showed that foreigners and private nursery schools were benefitting from UPE funds.

The secretary and counsel to the Judicial Commission, Ketra Katunguka explained that all the money was received by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Francis Lubanga from whom they were making the requisitions.

The commission, she said, bought six vehicles and the others were hired at Sh232,000 per day and that all field staff were recruited by the Ministry of Justice.

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